Kentucky Derby Pedigree Profile: Ny Traffic

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

August 9th, 2020

Talent has played a role in propelling Ny Traffic toward a start in the Kentucky Derby, but his consistency has arguably been an even bigger factor. It takes more than talent to place in the Risen Star (G2), Louisiana Derby (G2), Matt Winn (G3), and Haskell (G1) during a five-month span—the durability to fire off one big effort after another, without a miss, is just as important.

Ny Traffic Pedigree
Unbridled's Song
Cross Traffic
Stop Traffic
Ny Traffic
Graeme Hall
Mamie Reilly
French Song

Ny Traffic’s tough-as-nails campaign stands in contrast to the race record of his sire, the brilliant Cross Traffic. A front-running winner of the Whitney Invitational (G1) and a narrowly-beaten runner-up in the Metropolitan H. (G1), Cross Traffic didn’t debut until his 4-year-old season in 2013. He ultimately raced just six times that year and never ran again. A shin injury suffered when finishing seventh in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) sent Cross Traffic to the sidelines, and his retirement was announced in Sept. 2014.

Cross Traffic is a son of Unbridled’s Song, victorious in the 1995 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) and a highly successful sire responsible for six Breeders’ Cup winners. But though Unbridled’s Song was talented, he battled a bevy of injuries during his abbreviated racing career, and fairly or unfairly he developed a reputation for siring delicate runners. This was offset to some extent by the posthumous emergence of his acclaimed son Arrogate, record-shattering winner of the Travers (G1), Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), Pegasus World Cup (G1), and Dubai World Cup (G1).

Ny Traffic’s dam was also lightly raced. The New York-bred Mamie Reilly ran only twice as a 3-year-old in 2015, rallying to win a 6-furlong maiden claiming race at Belmont Park before retiring shortly afterward.

Yet it’s through Mamie Reilly that Ny Traffic might be inheriting his own consistency and durability. Mamie Reilly is a daughter of Graeme Hall, a Kentucky-bred chestnut who never nabbed a Grade 1 win, but one who competed with aplomb against graded stakes company from age two through five. A starter in the 2000 Kentucky Derby and a runaway winner of the Arkansas Derby (G2), Graeme Hall was at his best racing two turns and claimed a quartet of graded stakes wins from 22 starts over four seasons.

Certainly Graeme Hall passed durability on to his most successful progeny. Duke of Mischief won nearly $2 million by racing 30 times from 2008-13, counting the Oaklawn Handicap (G2) and Charles Town Classic (G3) among his signature wins. Palm Beach (G3) winner Joes Blazing Aaron ran 50 times from 2010-16, and Indiana Derby (G2) victor East Hall packed 28 starts into the course of three season from 2013-15. As a broodmare sire, Graeme Hall is responsible for Curalina (by Curlin), a three-time Grade 1 winner who competed in 10 consecutive graded stakes races over two seasons.

Getting back to Cross Traffic, it’s too early to draw conclusions about the abilities and proclivities of his progeny, though they’ve shown some early potential. Cross Traffic’s first crop produced Jaywalk, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2018 after rattling off victories in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) and Frizette (G1).

In short, Ny Traffic is bred to be an elite runner racing around two turns, and it’s possible he hasn’t reached his peak yet. Considering Cross Traffic was a Grade 1-winning 4-year-old, and Graeme Hall an accomplished older runner, Ny Traffic can continue progressing with maturity. And if the durable genes of Graeme Hall come shining through, Ny Traffic should handle the grind of the Derby trail just fine.